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Say No to the Fire-Sale of Uttarakhand’s Hydro Assets

The following informed commentary by Devesh Pant on the government’s decision to privatise hydro plants throughout Uttarakhand should arouse concern and action to thwart the “colossal” sell out of Uttarakhand’s patrimony at fire-sale prices.

To the Editor, The Garhwal Post,


Today’s front page news should arouse every Uttarakhandi. Selling off Uttarakhand’s Hydro-Power houses is putting a knife into our very hearts so to say. Cheap power was the gift which these Power Stations have presented to Uttarakhandis. These were the perpetual gold-mines, which have benefited Uttarakhandis because of their very low generation cost @ 29 Paise or so.

It is incredible that a sane Government can think of privatising them. Cheap power will dissappear the moment private parties grab these stations.

This smacks of Grand Larceny – a colossal conspiracy to steal our precious resources. A public-spirited drive to prevent this happening spearheaded by The Garhwal Post is URGENTLY called for. I am sure a PIL could be filed to prevent this and simultaneously the present Government must be brought to account.

These form the heart of our economy from the time of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. KL Rao. Such a cheap and perpetual source of power cannot be found anywhere in the country.

There is no doubt the Khanduri Government must be held to account. There must be interested private parties lobbying for this sell-off so it is a task for Garhwal Post to undertake investigative journalism. Mr. Arun Pratap Singh must go around UJVNL offices to find out more about the machinations.

These Hydro-Power Stations were the result of meticulous planning and diligent upkeep from the past so any attempt to sell them off for so-called refurbishment has to be thoroughly investigated. Every aspect of such a move must be scanned by experts. If the Khanduri Government is hell-bent on doing so it is also time the Congress stepped in to examine every aspect. Congress big-wigs must go deep into this.

If this sell-off is done it will be good-bye forever to Uttarakhand cheap power. Garhwal Post had published scathingly critical articles of Pro Bone Publico on the present Government’s so-called ‘New Power Policy’ sometimes in mid-December 2007. These must be read for insight into the machinations that prevail.

As a retired engineer I can say that this present move stinks of corrupt practices. It is nothing short of gross betrayal of our aspirations by this Government or what passes for it.

Yours faithfully,

Devesh ‘Darshan’ Pant,
Retired Deputy GM (of erstwhile UPSEB),
Consultant to the then Uttaranchal Government in early 2001,
Consultant Power to Administrative Reforms Commission of Uttarakhand ( ending Dec ’07)